ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has congratulated the nation over the end of dictatorship and said the Parliament has become sovereign and supreme. Speaking in the National Assembly this evening, he said today there is rule of law and supremacy of the constitution and there is no dictatorship. He said people rendered sacrifices for strengthening of the institutions, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and democracy.
The Prime Minister said he was jailed during the tenure of the last government but he is not bitter and wants beginning of reconciliation. He said we want to have Truth and Reconciliation committee. He said democracy is far better than dictatorship. Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani declared that they never considered the outgoing President as legal, legitimate and with constitutional authority. Similarly, he said they were against 17th amendment and article 58-2(B) of the constitution and would not accept them.
He said they want balance of powers between presidency and the parliament. He said there is parliamentary form of government in Pakistan and authority should vest in the Assembly. He said the Prime Minister and his cabinet are answerable to the assembly. The Prime Minister said there should be accountability but not victimization. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said he has instructed the Law Minister initiate legislation to make National Accountability Bureau a neutral and fair institution.
The Prime Minister asked Speaker of the National Assembly to strengthen the Public Accounts Committee and Standing Committees of the house and members should be answerable to them. He said there is also need for a neutral and independent election commission capable of conducting transparent and fair elections. He said the Election Commission should be strong enough to challenge even the election of the Prime Minister in his constituency if need be.
The Prime Minister said the President being symbol of the federation he should not be aligned with any political party. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani pointed out that the country was facing serious challenges like that of economic difficulties and law and order problems and appealed to the opposition and other democratic forces to joint hands with the government in tackling them effectively.
The Prime Minister thanked political leaders, political parties, media and other sections of the society for their struggle for restoration of democracy. In her remarks Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fahmida Mirza said it is a momentous occasion in the history of Pakistan.
She said now special responsibility devolves on parliamentarians and politicians to prove that they can handle the problems facing the country and can deliver. She said we can produce better results through collective efforts. The Speaker said both the treasury and the opposition will have to work hard for sovereignty and supremacy of the parliament. The house will now meet tomorrow morning at ten.-SANA